Written by: Michael Den Boer on June 23rd, 2009
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1981
Director: Joe D’Amato
Writer: George Eastman
Cast: George Eastman, Annie Belle, Charles Borromel, Katya Berger, Kasimir Berger, Hanja Kochansky, Ian Danby, Ted Rusoff, Edmund Purdom, Carolyn De Fonseca, Cindy Leadbetter, Lucia Ramirez, Mark Shannon, Michele Soavi, Martin Sorrentino, Goffredo Unger
DVD released: July 28th, 2009
Approximate running time: 94 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono English, Dolby Digital Mono Italian
DVD Release: Mya Communication
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95
Horrible was directed by prolific Italian filmmaker Joe D’Amato, whose other notable films include Death Smiled at Murder, Emanuelle in America, Beyond the Darkness and Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper. Some alternate titles that this film has been released under include Anthropophagous 2, Rosso Sangue (Red Blood) and perhaps its most known title, Absurd. Even though Horrible is considered a sequel of sorts too Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper, its only connection to the later film is that they both feature George Eastman in similar type roles. The screenplay for Horrible was written by George Eastman whose other notable screenplay’s include, Keoma, Big Alligator River, Anthropophagus: The Grim Reaper, Erotic Nights of the Living Dead, Porno Holocaust and Stage Fright. The score for Horrible was composed by Carlo Maria Cordio, who also composed scores for Zombie 5: Killing Birds, Aenigma, Touch of Death, Sodoma’s Ghost, Witchery, Hitcher in the Dark and Troll 2.
The plot is simple George Eastman is cast in the role of Nikos Karamanlis, a man with a rare blood disease which allows him to heal his wounds quickly. Nikos escapes from a laboratory in Greece where a priest had been taking care of him. Somehow Nikos boards a plan and flies to America where he then proceeds to raise hell ripping to shreds anyone who crosses his path. The Priest enlists the help of local law enforcement to track down Nikos who is becoming more demented with each new injury from which he heals himself from. In many ways the Nikos character is like the Frankenstein monster and the priest is his creator who is now forced with the task of killing the thing he helped facilitate.
Of course the best part of this film is watching George Eastman go bonkers. All of the kill scenes are entertaining and on par with other kill scenes from similar Italian horror films from this era. Some of the deaths include a drill bit through the temple, a meat cutting saw to the head and a woman being forced into a blazing hot oven. Besides George Eastman, the cast also features two other familiar faces in prominent roles Edmund Purdom (Pieces) in the role of the priest and Annie Belle (Laure, House on the Edge of the Park) in the role of a nurse named Emily. Other notable cast member’s in brief cameos from Michele Soavi (Cemetery Man) and Mark Shannon whose appearance in the film appears to be taken from another film that he also did with Joe D’Amato. Ultimately Horrible is a crazy film that sticks to its strengths blood and guts.
Horrible is presented in a letterboxed widescreen that frames the image in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio. This transfer has been flagged for progressive playback. Before the film there is a disclaimer that explains that two sources were used to make this the most complete version released to date. About 5 ½ minutes of footage comes from a lesser quality VHS master with the first occurrence happening around the 6 minute 40 second mark. The difference in quality is definitely noticeable during these segments. For the bulk of the film about 88 minutes comes from a clean (outside of some minor instances of print debris) and detailed looking source is used which looks very good for a non anamorphic transfer. Most importantly all of the gore / kill scenes are completely sourced from the stronger of the two sources used for this release.
This release comes with two audio options a Dolby Digital mono mix in English and a Dolby Digital mono mix in Italian. The English audio mix has noticeable hiss that varies in degree throughout. Besides this the rest of the English audio mix sounds balanced and dialog is easy to follow. The Italian audio mix is in the better shape of the two audio mixes as it sounds clean, clear and at times robust. No English subtitles have been provided for the Italian audio mix. Also during the Italian audio mix the 5 ½ minutes of footage that comes from a lesser quality VHS master is presented in English.
This release comes with no extra content. Overall while an anamorphic transfer and English subtitles with the Italian audio mix would have been welcome additions, this is still a more than adequate presentation the longest version of this film.